Mine Overlay Site Testing Facility
The GIWS Mine Overlay Site Testing (MOST) facility is a research and testing facility that serves as a hub for the development of hillslope hydrological models in relation to mine cover systems and landscape engineering. The facility is funded by Western Economic Diversification and includes a strong partnership with O’Kane Consulting, a world leader in mine cover design.
Located across the street from the GIWS offices at the National Hydrology Research Centre, the facility is the first of its kind to provide pilot scale cover trials with replications of key processes (placement, climate, slope/aspect, vegetation) and the ability to evaluate and characterize the key mechanisms controlling the water dynamics in mine reclamation cover design.
Mine covers are designed to return a site to its natural condition and isolate waste material so it does not damage the environment. The partially climate-controlled MOST facility allows mining companies and researchers to design and test soil cover systems under varying climatic conditions before building covers on-site, saving both time and money in the design and testing phases.
National Hydrology Research Centre
GIWS is co-located at Environment Canada's National Hydrology Research Centre and maintains access to the building's high-quality lab facilities. In addition, our faculty have the following lab spaces:
Watershed Hydrology Lab
Led by Jeffrey McDonnell, the Cryogenic Vacuum Extraction lab hosts a four bank, 28 sample capacity soil and plant water extraction device for the purposes of stable isotope analysis. In addition, the group maintains a soil physics lab that contains three large squeezers that extract water from soil and plant material, a temporally dynamic freezer used for freeze thaw water infiltration experiments, as well as equipment to characterize soil properties.
SaskWatChe lab - Saskatchewan Water Chemistry and Ecology Lab
Run by Helen Baulch, the SaskWatChe Lab has the capacity to analyze for nutrient chemistry and dissolved gas chemistry. For this, the lab uses a discrete chemical analyzer, a gas chromatographer, and a spectrophotometer. The lab recently acquired a MIMS (membrane inlet mass spectrometer) which can be used for dissolved gas chemistry.
Toxicology Centre and Aquatic Toxicology Research Facility
The U of S Toxicology Centre is the largest academic research and training centre in the area of aquatic and environmental toxicology in Canada. The centre provides broad-based expertise from the molecular to the ecosystem level, with partners from around the globe. It focuses on investigating the effects of water pollution on ecosystem and human health with an aim towards sustainability and stronger environmental stewardship.
The Aquatic Toxicology Research Facility, the only facility of its type in Canada and one of only a few in the world, is a highly sophisticated laboratory for aquatic toxicology research. Located at the Toxicology Centre, the 7,100 sq-ft laboratory was specifically designed to provide areas with different water qualities and temperatures to perform both static and dynamic toxicological experiments with algae, crustaceans, insects, clams, amphibians or fish. In-house research facilities include five walk-in controlled-environment chambers and an analytical laboratory for water quality analysis.
Centre for Hydrology
The U of S Centre for Hydrology addresses Saskatchewan's water sustainability problems and provides national leadership in hydrological research and training. The centre includes unique facilities with equipment for stable isotope analysis, strong expertise in water and wastewater treatment, efficacy of constructed wetlands, mine reclamation and site remediation, water balance modelling, and hydrogeochemistry. The centre has six labs: Cryospheric Environmental Lab (an experimental cold room for cryospheric simulation); Cool Sample Lab; Hydrological Modelling Lab (computer modelling with PC and Unix); Hydrological Instrumentation Lab; Hydrological Sampling Lab; and Ecohydrology Lab (natural water chemistry).
In Alberta, the Centre for Hydrology maintains premises at the Coldwater Laboratory, part of the Barrier Lake Field Station in Kananaskis Country. As well as offices and labs, this facility is able to provide an accomodation base for fieldwork in nearby research basins such as Marmot Creek.
Canadian Light Source
As part of an international team, U of S Canada Research Chair’s Ingrid Pickering and Graham George are using synchrotron technology to research the anecdotal properties of selenium when combined with arsenic. Arsenic in drinking water in Bangladesh and parts of India is poisoning upwards of 35 million people. Through a clinical trial conducted in Bangladesh, Pickering and Graham’s studies have demonstrated that an arsenic-selinium detoxification molecule is formed in blood and excreted. Selenium supplementation may be a possible arsenic poisoning treatment for Bangladeshis, and has the potential to improve the health of millions.